Q&A - Questions We Didn't Get to On Q&A Day: How Can I be Sure?

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(From a nine year old) How do I make sure I have accepted Christ?

I would want this precious 9 year old to be able to sit down with his/her parent(s) and look at this together: 10 evidences of new life from the Bible:

1) I love and long for God’s Word.

1 Peter 2:2 - Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation…

2) I have a new awareness of good and evil.

Hebrews 5:13-14 - for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

3) I live in repentance.

Matthew 3:8 - Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

4) I have a desire to be like Jesus.

Romans 8:29 - For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

5) I am growing more spiritually mature.

Philippians 1:6 - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

6) I am growing in prayer.

Genesis 4:26 - At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.

7) My non-Christian friends notice something different about me.

1 Peter 4:3-5 - The time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

8) I love sharing Christ with others.

2 Corinthians 5:20 - Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

9) I love other Christians.

1 John 3:14 - We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

10) I love giving money to the work of the Lord.

Matthew 6:21 - For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Biblically, these are objective tests we can use to examine ourselves and see if/how the Holy Spirit is at work in us!

You are loved!

Pastor Jeff

Q&A - Questions We Didn't Get To: What did God mean by "one of us"...?

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In Gen 1:26, God says man is made "in our image" but after the fall God says the man has "become like ONE of us in knowing good and evil" What does He mean?

Wow, this is going to be hard to keep short. I'll try. Soooooo much to talk about here. 

The plurality in 1:26 refers to the Godhead. God is 1, but exists as 3 Persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. We are 1, but 3 as well, you could say, as we are body, mind, and spirit. There is more to you than what you see when you look in the mirror. It's a hard analogy, as is anything trying to compare to the Almighty God.

The statement after the Fall, in my understanding, is just pointing to the Godhead, so to rephrase it, “man knows the difference between good and evil as does God.”

BUT, I heard one preacher put it this way: God knows evil like sunbeam on sewage – untouched, unfouled. Man knows evil like someone drowning in sewage.

That's all the further I take 3:22 – I don't read anything more into it, personally.

Q&A - Questions We Didn't Get To: Legalism Signs?

How can I better detect legalism in the church? I didn't realize how legalistic my old church was until after I left. The list of all the things we "good Christians" should / should not do was very long.

When a church requires you keep certain man-made “rules” in order to be holy / make God happy / be “a good Christian” / etc – that's legalism. Our righteousness is found in Christ (2Corinthians 5:21), and we follow the guidelines of God's Word to live uprightly according to God's instruction – for His glory and our benefit. We can't "keep rules" to become holy and pleasing to God - Jesus already provided the righteousness we require. (we have an upcoming sermon on "obedience" that may be worth listening to if this is confusing).

But the biggest indicator is when the “rules” are man-made, not instruction from the Bible. Rules like “don't play cards, don't dance, don't listen to this kind of music, don't wear these kinds of clothes, don't wash your car on a Sunday” etc - and “anyone who violates this/these rule(s) is shunned or disciplined or rebuked from the church.”

Ugh. Not in the Bible. Won't produce righteousness. That's just legalism. 

Didn't Make the Final Cut Sunday...

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I wanted so badly to talk about this Sunday, but it just didn't fit. So here are some notes from something I studied that I found crazy fascinating. 

The parallels between Isaac and Jesus are incredible:

-Isaac and Jesus are both known by their fathers as the ”son whom I love”.

-Neither Isaac or Jesus resisted being a sacrifice. 

-Both Isaac and Jesus carried the wood on their backs, the wood they were to be laid upon for sacrifice. 

-3 days: on the journey for Isaac, in the tomb for Jesus.

-Moriah, where Abe and Isaac went, was the site where Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem would later be built, and near the site of the crucifixion of Jesus.

-The only difference: God did not spare His Son! Abe's story introduces substitutionary atonement, and in that same place, ~2k years later, Jesus became our substitute.

Pretty amazing, huh?